If we talk about urban planning and things to do in the city of the Dominican Republic, it is inevitable not to think about the beaches and the magnificent weather. But there are really many more things to do in the city besides lying in the sun. Santo Domingo is a region with a rich history and a lot of tourist attractions that have little to do with its climate and its beaches. Without going any further, one of the magical places that all this has is the Colonial Zone, in which visitors not only have access to the best restaurants and bars but also to its numerous cultural buildings that allow a journey through its history and the evolution simply by contemplating different works of art.
The Colonial Zone of Santo Domingo is one of the most important tourist destinations in the city and among the most visited in the Dominican Republic and is just where the history of the New World began. It is located on the eastern side of the mouth of the Ozama River and was founded by Bartolomé Colón on August 5, 1496, and later moved to the western side in 1502 by Nicolás de Ovando. In the area, you will be able to witness a whole era through the different buildings, squares, streets, and parks of the Colonial Zone. It is a place that deserves to be visited to contemplate the museums and monuments, and its houses built at the time of colonization, declared on December 8, 1990, by UNESCO, a World Heritage Site and today constitutes one of the most emblematic historical centers of the Caribbean.
The history behind the walls of the colonial zone and each space on the streets, make it a rich area, an exquisite mix that doesn’t lack a little fun, a lot of art, and the exact dose of culture.
Among the things to do in Colonial Zone and that you should not miss, is one of the main streets, called El Conde, it this being the only pedestrian street in Santo Domingo that is characterized above all for having numerous shops.
To the east of El Conde street, you will discover the first paved street in Las Américas: Las Damas street. It has 16th-century architecture, colonial buildings turned into museums and embassies that fill this picturesque and narrow street. Key sites located along this historic street include the Ozama Fortress, the first fortress of the Americas, and the National Pantheon, the resting place of the Dominican Republic’s national heroes.
Colonia Zone buildings, museums, and attractions
During the colonial era, the Spanish built more than 300 buildings that today are part of the historical heritage of the place, among these tourist attractions we can mention some of the places that you should visit such as:
- Baluarte El Conde
- Puerta del Conde
- Parque Independencia
- Capilla de los Remedios
- Casa de Bastidas
- Casa de Diego Caballero
- Casa de Juan Pablo Duarte
- Casa de Nicolás de Ovando
- Casa de Tostado
- Casa de La Moneda
- Casa de Las Gárgolas
- Catedral Primada de América
- Ceiba de Colón
- Ermita de San Antón
- Escalinata de Las Damas
- Fuerte de San José
Museum-lovers will find endless opportunities, in the first urban settlement in the New World, that has incredible museums that offer a glimpse of the Spanish colonial era, from the Alcázar de Colón to the Royal House Museum, where the royal court was located. As well as there are other types of Museums, such as the Larimar Museum, World Amber Museum, Museo del Tabaco, activities dedicated to the smallest of the house, such as the Trampoline Museum, among others.
The diversity of multicultural eateries, the rides on the Chuchu train, museums, the streets, monuments, parks, cultural centers, spaces open to art and artists, make the emblematic Colonial Zone, a place of great attraction for people of all ages that you should not miss.
This tourist destination, in addition to having emblematic places, has sites for entertainment such as bars, restaurants, theater, nightclubs, parks, and other spaces that allow the development of artistic and cultural activities. Santo Domingo Colonial Zone nightlife comes to life with its solid concentration of bars along its multiple narrow and romantic streets, as well as places to dance. Along Hostos street and Isabel La Católica street, there are a number of popular bars offering a happy hour, live music, and dancing. As well as lounges and tapas bars spread over Arzobispo Meriño and Arzobispo Nouel streets.
On Sundays you can enjoy the presentations of the Bonyé group, playing salsa, son and merengue live in the ruins of San Francisco, the first monastery of the New World, with a free concert in the open air from 6 pm to 10 pm. In the streets Sánchez and Mercedes, the discotheques start-up from midnight. Another activity that some consider a tradition, is a visit to Casa de Teatro, a space that has a full schedule of cultural activities, dances, concerts, theater, and exhibitions of works.
The Colonial Zone, owner of various places, to satisfy all types of public. Today, the colonial city is one of the most important tourist places in Santo Domingo and one of the most visited by tourists and foreigners, in the Dominican Republic and in the Caribbean. This area has so much to offer that it is well worth getting to know it, touring it, and inviting others to enjoy its charms. If you want to stay in a place located close to the Colonial Zone, you can stay in the fabulous hotel Catalonia Santo Domingo where our staff will make you feel like royalty. We will wait for you!